MOSCOW, June 23, 2012 — At our inmost core we are eternal beings. This eternal essence has been recognized under different names in different places and times. It has been called soul, spirit, self, atman, consciousness and such.
Most of us do not perceive our own immortal nature. We fear death, and we think it puts an end to our existence. But that which is eternal cannot die. It always is.
We fail to feel the soul, because it is buried in sin and ignorance. Those are produced by what the Bible calls “the natural man.” Terms ego or egoic self are often used to signify the same thing.
Ego is an outgrowth of fallen human nature. It separates us from God and from other human beings.
Acting as if we were the center of the universe, using others as a means for our own ends, insisting that we are always right, and the desire to be admired and praised are some of the tendencies of the egoic self.
The ego has a powerful propensity for self-deception. As a rule, the more selfish its works, the better it thinks of itself. The moment we begin to see ourselves as good or virtuous, red flags should go up. The opposite is likely the case.
Most of us think that we are good people. But if the world is full of good people, why is there so much evil and deceit?
Almost everything the egoic self does is wrong. While there is an egoic self, real love and life are impossible.
“The Kingdom of God is within you,” Jesus taught.
The Kingdom of God is bliss, peace, love and joy. All this, according to Christ, is already contained in our being.
Some seers in other spiritual traditions intimated the same idea. This is what one of them said: “Peace is our real nature. Happiness is your true nature. It is not wrong to desire it. What is wrong is to seek it outside while it is inside. God dwells in you.”
We rarely experience the peace of God because of the interference of the ego. As long as the ego remains, the Kingdom of God can’t be experienced. What is experienced instead is life that often feels like hell.
The road to the Kingdom of God leads through the eradication of the egoic self. In Christianity this is done through Jesus Christ. It happens when one surrenders in faith.
“I have been crucified with Christ,” writes the apostle Paul. The full import of this idea is rarely understood even by those who call themselves Christians. We do not like to pray for our own crucifixion; we prefer to pray a blessing. But crucifixion is the greatest blessing, because it frees us from ourselves.
There are instances of people whose egos dropped either spontaneously or through spiritual discipline. Either way it is a miracle, because it entails transcendence of human nature.
The ego desperately resists every attempt at eradication. The tormentor tries retain its hold at any cost.
The destruction of the ego is impossible from the standpoint of the natural man, because it involves the death of the natural man. This death cannot take place without the grace of God.
“Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it,” says Christ in Luke’s Gospel.
Once the ego dies, we become free and the Kingdom of God breaks forth.
Born and raised under communism, Vasko Kohlmayer is a naturalized American citizen. He has lived in several countries under various forms of government, but he still marvels at the goodness of God and the wonder of life.
He has written for a number of newspapers, magazines and internet journals. Vasko currently lives in Europe with his long-suffering wife and two beautiful daughters. He is the founder of The Christian Writers Foundation.
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